BookBrowse Reviews Rules for Old Men Waiting by Peter R. Pouncey

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Rules for Old Men Waiting

by Peter R. Pouncey

Rules for Old Men Waiting
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 224 pages
    Jun 2006, 224 pages

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This spare, distilled first novel is an immediate classic.

Comment: Robert MacIver, the protagonist of Rules, is a recently widowed and rapidly aging historian in his 80s grieving alone through the winter in an unheated Cape Cod house "older than the Republic" in the late 1980s.  As the house starts to crumble around him he is driven to create a list of rules by which to live out his last days with dignity (he is dying of an unspecified ailment), including eating regular meals, working every morning, burning books by rival scholars to keep warm and to "tell a story to its end".  This last rule spurs the old Scot on to invent a strange and gripping tale of soldiers in the trenches of the First World War. 

This invented tale prompts memories of his ...

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